| Guardiola wants Cesc Fabregas to be one of the players throwing him up and down next year [GALLO/GETTY]
Barcelona are ready to fight to bring Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas back to the club right up until the transfer deadline on August 31, coach Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday.
Barcelona are in talks with Arsenal to buy the Spain midfielder, a long-term target for the Spanish and European champions, Guardiola, flanked by sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta, told a news conference.
"This year Arsenal has agreed to negotiate and we are working on it," Guardiola said.
"Barcelona has made an offer, Arsenal another and we have time until Aug. 31 and we'll try to reach an agreement," added the 40-year-old.
"There is a sum of money in the strong box set aside for this signing but if it doesn't work out it will be kept in the box for something else.
"We will fight to the end to try to get Cesc because we believe he will improve the team and the squad."
Fabregas, 24, came through Barcelona's youth academy at the same time as World Player of the Year Lionel Messi before joining Arsenal in 2003 at the age of 16.
He discussed his situation with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger when he returned for pre-season training this month and did not join his team mates on a tour of Asia due to injury.
"We will fight to the end to try to get Cesc because we believe he will improve the team and the squad"
Barca coach Pep Guardiola
Wenger is trying to convince Fabregas there would be no greater achievement for him than to lead Arsenal to success and that it is not the right time for him to leave England.
But Fabregas is looking forward to playing for a club that won the Champions League last season and has many of his friends within its ranks.
Guardiola said that despite the push to land Fabregas, his priority was to sign a forward and Zubizarreta said the club were close to completing the purchase of Chile striker Alexis Sanchez from Serie A side Udinese.
Barca were also on the verge of selling striker Bojan Krkic to AS Roma, who have hired former Barca B coach Luis Enrique to lead them for the coming season, Zubizarreta added.
"As we understand it we are in the final stages of the negotiations [to sign Sanchez] and an agreement will happen very soon," former Barca and Spain goalkeeper Zubizarreta said.
"But I would have said the same thing this time last week. As in a good film, it seems sometimes the end takes a little longer," he said.
The end certainly takes a little longer when it comes to Cesc Fabregas.
Many of the Arsenal fans who were originally disappointed to hear about Fabregas's transfer request, now want the deal sorted as soon as possible so manager Arsene Wenger can start to strenghten their team after a poor end to the season.